NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

September 19, 2013

Lasting impressions of sculptures in the park

One morning in January 2005, I boarded a C&J bus for the first leg of my day trip to New York to see Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates.” It was a memorable day. The beauty of the visual spectacle of the floating orange curtains along the paths, promenades and hills of Central Park was matched by the spirit of the people — the joy and delight of reveling in the bright color against the snow, the feeling of fellowship we felt amidst this glorious, temporary display.

Every year in September, we have our own much more modest but still stirring event, Sculpture at Maudslay. There are 30 sculptures in this year’s 15th annual show that was coordinated by Bert Snow. The theme is “Intertwine.” The works rest on the ground, are suspended overhead and hang from trees. They range in size from a small book by a Moseley descendant to a sculpture carved in a 7-foot-tall piece of New Hampshire granite. They are made from wood, clay, stone, piano parts, plastic, metal, twine, tyvek, wire and yarn.

Sculpture at Maudslay begins in the spring when the theme is chosen. Participating artists are asked, but not required, to make work that connects to it. In May, proposals are submitted. Each artist chooses three sites within the designated area and rates them as first, second and third choices. A walk-through is held to make sure the spots marked on the map are the ones that artists did in fact choose and any conflicts are resolved. The artists are flexible and the site always goes to the piece that needs it the most. Ideally, we all work on our sculptures over the summer. For many of us, there are years when we turn the calendar to September, count the days to installation and begin work in a concentrated burst. All the work is carefully sited and, in many cases, designed specifically for a particular site.

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